Many cite fears of chaos at Republican convention, may vote for TrumpPublished: 1 hour ago
After walking away with the majority of delegates in Wyoming and Colorado, Sen. Ted Cruz was on a roll. His knowledge of the “obscure, internecine” delegate fights gave him a tactical advantage over front-runner Donald Trump, which could end up deciding the Republican nomination for president.
“This is how elections are won in America,” said Cruz.
The Texas senator saw a silver lining to his declining polls as he heads into Tuesday’s critical Indiana primary. According to the National Review, “The political world was captivated – and Trump supporters were infuriated – by the Cruz campaign’s successful effort to elect large blocs of friendly delegates at a series of state-party conventions.”
But then something unexpected happened. It seems delegates, like regular voters, are susceptible to public opinion … and public opinion was swaying toward Trump. The billionaire real-estate mogul trounced Cruz in Florida, Arizona, New Hampshire, and five northeastern states, which abruptly shifted the fickle political winds.
“Mr. Cruz’s support among the party’s 2,472 convention delegates is softening,” noted the New York Times, “threatening his hopes of preventing Mr. Trump’s nomination by overtaking him in a floor fight.”
Cruz led a smooth, well-groomed campaign during North Dakota’s state convention. He flew in to make personal appeals, and his staffers “ran rings” around the less-organized Trump campaign by compiling and distributing lists of their preferred delegates to convention votes. Cruz’s campaign declared victory when his preferred candidates won 18 out of 25 unbound convention delegates.
But even at the time, pundits were wondering how loyal those candidates would be if the Republican nomination heads toward a contested convention in Cleveland. The delegates are vital in Cruz’s goal to deny Trump the 1,237 delegates he’ll need on the first ballot in Cleveland. Some candidates told Politico they were only leaning toward Cruz, or simply opposed to Trump.
Now, as delegates watch Cruz’s increasing struggle against Trump’s overwhelming popularity, many are rethinking their commitment, possibly concerned about a bitter convention battle that could tear the GOP apart.
“I think [last Tuesday’s vote] spooked a lot of people,” says Jim Poolman, a North Dakota delegate who had previously committed to a first-ballot convention vote for Cruz. “But I want to be clear, I think the will of the people does mean something, as well. Donald Trump has gotten a lot of support across the country, and just [last Tuesday], winning five [states] is one heckuva showing.” Poolman hedged his support for Cruz by stating he will see how the remaining primaries play out.
Other North Dakota delegates also are wavering.
David Hogue, a state senator and Cruz-approved delegate, told the National Review he’s been “vacillating.”
Dick Dever said, “What I have said is I’m leaning towards Cruz, but I’m not committed to anybody. And after [Tuesday’s vote], I think Trump has the momentum going forward.”
Rick Becker, a former North Dakota gubernatorial candidate who is still loyal to Cruz, is concerned about party chaos if delegates ignore the wishes of their congressional districts.
“Yes, you’re unbound, you can vote for whoever you want,” he said. “But if Trump gets really close, should you even ignore your wishes, ignore your congressional district’s wishes, and just vote for Trump to try to salvage the Republican party from being torn apart?”
Jessica Unruh, a state senator on the Cruz slate, admits she is reconsidering her options. She states, “That’s why I’ve been supportive of Cruz and not fully committed to him, because I would not want to see that happen to the Republican party.”
Prior to Trump’s landslide victory in last week’s Pennsylvania primary, Cruz boasted it had dozens of staffers devoted to acquiring as many of the state’s 54 unbound delegates as possible. Despite those efforts, Cruz won only three.
This weakening of support for Cruz raises the stakes in Indiana. “With unbound delegates warily eyeing recent primary results,” noted the National Review, “there’s little chance Cruz will be able to stanch the bleeding without decisively halting Trump’s surge. Even if he does win in Indiana, Cruz will need to prove he can keep on winning, in California and elsewhere, to satisfy delegates who may personally prefer him to Trump, but are worried about throwing the party into chaos before the general election.”
Southern states, which were initially seen as firmly in Cruz’s camp, now have some delegates echoing a growing sentiment: a “sense of resignation” that Trump will win the nomination.
“Honestly, we didn’t think [Trump] could get this far. And he did,” said Jonathan Barnett, the Republican national committeeman for Arkansas.
The largest concern among unbound delegates is presenting a unified front against the Democrats in November. To them, this is a bigger issue than Cruz vs. Trump.
“No matter what happens in Cleveland, I am in the ‘anybody-but-Hillary’ camp,” says Poolman. “The most important objective is to get a nominee and unite the party.”
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2016/05/are-ted-cruz-delegates-starting-to-freak/#lV4SV0GEbQCAgWMz.99